Trent Hettinger’s turbulent formative years transformed him into a cynic—and into a man who realized he required something outside himself to control his temper. Something he finds as a Dom—at least for a while. But he allowed himself to trust a woman once and was slapped back into reality with a vengeance and now devotes all his energy into building his real estate empire, raising his teenaged daughter…and avoiding anything resembling authentic attachments.
Melody Rodriguez kept her head down for years—working hard, making her own money, trying to get ahead with every deck stacked against her. She’s determined to move beyond the ugliness that haunts her without anyone’s help. When a mutual friend sets her up with Trent, she’s determined to have some fun with him and move on.
A man with nothing to left to lose. A woman hiding behind her past. When two lives spent in emotional denial collide, it’s a perfect match—at least on the surface. But neither Trent nor Melody are prepared for the full force of their true feelings, once fate intervenes and blows a cold breeze into their white-hot relationship.
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(rated R for language)
He grabbed the remote and handed it to me between bites. “Well? I thought I was getting subjected to that horrible game.”
I took the remote, stuck my tongue out at him and clicked on the telly. The match flickered on after a few seconds.
“Ah, right,” he said, sipping his beer, then tucking into the soup. “The pretty boys game.”
“Damn straight,” I said, taking a bite of my own carnitas creation. Pretty damn good if I say so myself. “These men are fine.”
“Guapo?” He raised a dark eyebrow at me, which intensified the heat gathering in areas of my body I’d forgotten I even had.
“No. They’re too prima donna to be truly guapo.”
“Good. I like that word being reserved for me.” He stood. “I need another one of those amazing tacos. And you’re right. I hardly miss the cheese.”
“Of course I’m right.” I winked at him, then felt my face flush so hot I put my hand to my cheek.
We sat in companionable silence, regarding the game and eating for a while. As we leaned back, our feet up on the table, finishing our second beers, the match got more intense. At one point I leapt up and started cursing a stream of Spanish at the official.
“Calm down, already. What happened?” Trent asked, amusement on his face.
“That hijo de puta claimed offsides and called back that goal! Are you blind? Mierda!”
I flopped back onto the couch, this time so close our thighs brushed together when I propped my feet back on the table.
“Offsides, eh?” Trent put his glass to his lips and eyed me over the rim. “I have no idea what that means, at least in this game.”
I shoved our plates aside, grabbed the salt and pepper shakers and the empty beer bottles and attempted to explain it. After ten utterly frustrating minutes, I gave up and threw my napkin at his face after he asked one more stupid question. “Mierda! El burro sabe mas que te!”
He leaned back in mock horror. “Did you just call me a burro? Is that like an ass?”
I dissolved into giggles at the look on his face. “¡Mira qué cabrón! There, I just called you a smartass.”
“Neat,” he said, grinning widely. We stared at each other for a few seconds too long, then both turned to the match.
“For the record, I did say a burro was smarter than you.”
“Ah, of course,” he said, getting up and stretching right in front of me. I swallowed hard and made myself not look at his ass. When he turned around again, his face had gone pensive. “Your poor, beautiful face,” he said, out of the clear blue. “It’s all I can do to look at you and not run out of here and kill that motherfucker.”
I blinked fast, covered by grabbing my beer and totally missed my mouth. A dollop of the brew landed right on my best Real jersey. I stared down at it in horror. Trent chuckled. I glared up at him, daring him to say anything. He tried to stop laughing, but that made it worse. By the time I’d gotten up for a towel and maybe a shot of that tequila, he was practically rolling around on the floor in hysterics.
“Are you quite finished?” I asked, brushing at the stain, my face so hot I could have warmed a whole house in the middle of winter. I’d kept my back to him, the tall counter between us. Mortification was making my vision blur. Or was that tears? Shit, I’d never get this right. I was ruined. Ruined for relationships with real men, anyway. I whirled around to tell him to take his funny bone and get the fuck out of my apartment.
He was there, in front of me, too close for it to be in any way considered casual. His broad, black-cotton-covered chest filled my vision. His scent—a clean, fresh, outdoorsy odor—filled my nose. His voice—deep and musical—filled my soul.
“Melody,” he said, as he took my hands in his and brought them to his lips. Mi Dios, those lips! He kissed each one of my knuckles softly, keeping his eyes on mine. Then he turned my hands over and pressed his lips to first one, then the other of my palms.
“Trent,” I whispered, my mind awash with images and sensations, all of them good for a change.
“Sh,” he whispered, placing my hands on his shoulders, then sliding his hands around to the small of my back. “Sh, no talking.” His smile lit up my entire universe—corny, but true and I’m not ashamed to admit it. “I have wanted to kiss you since I saw you across that diner.”
“When… Oh, right,” I said, my voice breaking at the end like a silly virginal teenager’s.
Surely he won’t want me, when he finds out I’m spoiled goods. Surely he won’t…Surely he has got to be the best kisser in the entire known universe.